ARLINGTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Capterra, the leading online resource for business software buyers, today released its findings from a survey of 699 individuals across 14 industries on what software small business owners should invest in now and what software they can put on the back-burner. Designed to help SMBs set their purchasing priorities, key takeaways from the Capterra survey unveil owners need to invest in data security, right away. Customer relationship management (CRM) software is essential to most businesses, and depending on the company, blockchain and business intelligence may not be a significant option — at least right now. While small business investments are determined by a complex combination of factors that are unique to a company’s goals and circumstances, Capterra’s survey results and analysis are a “pulse checker” on the SMB market in general and vital to small business owners.
The Landscape Now: Security and Cloud Technologies Drive Today’s
Among the technologies already implemented in SMBs, results show small business owners need to invest in data management or information security solutions with only 68 percent of respondents currently using data and information security technologies. “The SMB community must commit to 100 percent participation in security management in order to stop data breaches,” says Tirena Dingeldein, senior analyst and content manager, Capterra. “Hackers are increasingly sophisticated in their attacks, and it is well past time to invest in a data management or information security solution,” says Dingeldein. The implementation of policies to increase oversight of data and information security — such as the General Data Protection Act (GDPR) — also pose serious hazard to small businesses who risk losing money, on top of any potential hacks, if they do not protect their data correctly.
Capterra’s survey findings also identifies that 59 percent of respondents are currently using cloud computing for their business, indicating that companies using the technology are seeking more agile and scalable information storing and transaction performing capabilities. For businesses who have yet to implement cloud strategies into their technology objectives, Capterra advises to watch for the following indicators as a sign of the times to transition to a cloud solution: budget for maintaining systems in-house is increasing beyond what has been normal in previous years; more time is spent waiting for data to populate than using it for work; the existing data filing system has outgrown what its in-house solution can handle.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools Found as Top Tech
Necessary to Scale Business Growth
When asked to identify the importance of specific technologies necessary to conduct business operations, small business survey takers responded with a rousing 73 percent that CRM software is critical to their organization, yet only 56 percent of respondents are currently using a CRM tool. “After data and information security management tools, SMBs should make CRM technology their next tech investment,” says Dingeldein. “CRM software is the way successful businesses nurture their customers and open up their sales funnel. Without a CRM, small businesses risk time and resources used to build customer relationships.”
For business owners who have yet to adopt a CRM tool, SMB leaders should reflect on how they currently manage their business leads and maintain customer relationships if not by CRM. “The survey results show that while a majority of business owners are interested in CRM tools, delay in adoption is often a result of not yet finding the right tool that fits their needs,” says Dingeldein. Dingeldein also suggests business owners explore free or open source CRM if budget does not allow for paid versions.
Blockchain is the Hype but Not Necessary — Yet
Surprises in the survey include much talked-about blockchain: 54 percent of 268 respondents currently using, planning or evaluating blockchain said it is beneficial but not necessary for conducting business. “Blockchain may not be a necessary requirement right now, but it should also not be discounted for future consideration,” says Dingeldein. “It is predicted that blockchain will have a significant impact on small businesses in the next ten years.”
Results also show that 28 percent of 269 respondents currently using, planning or evaluating chatbots say that they are not necessary for them to conduct business. Small business respondents in this survey say a chatbot is not a requirement for them to conduct business successfully. However, as businesses scale, owners may need to reconsider the value and efficiency chatbots bring. A recent Gartner report also expects this vantage point to change in the near future led by the way Generation Z and millennials interact with the world around them.
Bearing in mind that determining which technology a small business should invest in is highly subjective, the right software decision can nonetheless increase revenue, while the wrong one can sink a company. The stakes are high and real intelligence, such as the results found in the survey, are critical. To learn more about the findings, the full survey results can be found in Tirena Dingeldein’s blog post, “Tech for Small Businesses: What Your Peers Are Using.”
Capterra conducted this survey in 2017 among 699 U.S.-based SMBs with more than 10 employees and annual revenue of less than $100 million. The survey excluded nonprofit organizations. The qualified respondents are decision-makers or have a significant influence on the decisions related to purchasing technologies for their organization.
About Capterra: Capterra is the leading online resource for business software buyers. Founded in 1999, Capterra features validated user reviews and independent research across hundreds of software categories. From Accounting to Yoga Studio Management, Capterra covers it all. Each month, Capterra helps more than three million buyers find the right software. Capterra is a Gartner company. For more information, visit capterra.com.